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The Associated Press is reporting that Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, according to court documents that have surfaced, could potentially receive half a million dollars in a “finder’s fee” if a controversial sale of state buildings through private investors goes through! As the AP has it:
The arrangement with Pulido was uncovered during a deposition of State Treasurer Bill Lockyer last week by attorneys for opponents of the building sale. Two former building authority commissioners who were ousted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after they raised questions about the sale are suing to stop the transaction to a group of private investors. A hearing is scheduled for Friday in San Francisco Superior Court.
Lockyer said he was told by an attorney that Pulido would receive a “finder’s fee” if the deal goes through, but he did not know who would pay the fee. Pulido told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that it was a “success fee” for introducing several of the companies to each other. He said the companies approached him for his assistance because “I just know a lot of folks.” “Our bid was $230 million above the next-highest bid,” Pulido said.
Orange Juice readers would be well to recall Vern Nelson’s great write-up last month “Lame Duck Arnold’s Newest Taxpayer Swindle: SLEASING Public Buildings.” Vern offers the new term “to slease” for the increasingly common, stupid and wasteful practice of selling off government properties while committing taxpayers to LEASE the properties back for decades at an overall loss. It’s no wonder this corrupt scheme was strenuously opposed by both Treasurer Lockyer and Controller John Chiang, and the Santa Ana Mayor’s involvement in this at any price is, how shall I say, no bueno!
Pulido spoke to the Los Angeles Times this afternoon in an effort to do damage control. As they have it, “In a strange twist, Pulido later contacted The Times to say that the partnership was reorganizing, some of the companies he had helped introduce had pulled out, and that he would not be paid the $500,000.” Well, how much would the Mayor stand to be paid then for this supposed “reorganization?” Any way you slice and dice it, Pulido is helping his people get their “slease” on! The LAT reported, “Pulido defended the potential payment, arguing that it was not a “finder’s fee” but rather a “success fee” payable only if the deal goes through. His part of the transaction, he said in a telephone interview Monday, was simply to introduce several of the companies involved in the successful bid to one another.”
In the same article, an attorney representing the sale’s opponents, “said in an interview Monday that the proposed payment “raises very serious questions,” before adding, “It’s all public money involved. How do you give finder’s fees?” Cotchett said. “It should be an arms-length economic transaction that is beneficial to the state of California and taxpayers. If there’s money that finder’s fees can be paid, that’s not an economically viable transaction” for the state.
Pulido allegedly playing the $500,000 pyramid game apparently made him blush once it was made public. The latest news at the time of this post notes that, “after revelations about the proposed fee appeared on The Times’ website, Pulido said he had “no written agreement” with the consortium that placed the winning bid for the 11 state properties. Late Monday, he said “I now believe there’s no hope that I will receive any money for this transaction under any circumstances.”
Poor, poor Pulido…It’s not about the money anyway. It’s about the principle. Collaborating in sleasing – even if in a “reorganized” post-revelation volunteer effort – is pathetic!
One number that is for sure is the one reported by the AP at the end of its write-up:
According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the plan to sell state office buildings will cost taxpayers $1.4 billion over 35 years.
Way to go Pulido! You have truly been transformed as a Progressive! Maybe someone told you Harvey Milk was a politician known for milking the taxpayer dry by bringing together folks in sleasing schemes and that’s why you voted for that resolution supporting the day in his honor!